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Special Issue on: “Collective Action, Social Movements and Digital Technology”
Special Issue Editors: Lisen Selander, University of Gothenburg
Amber Young, University of Massachusetts Amherst
Emmanuelle Vaast, McGill University
Elizabeth Davidson, University of Hawai’i

Motivation and Overview

Technological advances have revolutionized both the means and ends of collection actions and movements. It seems what we are witnessing is not only changes in how individuals approach protest and resistance, but also what it means to /be/ organized.  This fundamental shift in the nature of organization beyond formal boundaries of established organizations and firms demands a renewed effort to understand organization and organizing in its current form (Winter et al., 2014). On the one hand, digital technologies bring unprecedented opportunities to organize masses of individuals in democratic actions, lower participation costs, and foster new information and action repertoires that go beyond offline communities. On the other hand, questions remain regarding the actual impact of technology-enabled collective action, its consequences for inequality, and the ethical implications of ideologies championed through collective action.

There is an emerging literature on the uses of Internet and social media technologies in social protests and in technology use for collective actions within the communications field (cf. Bennett & Segerberg, 2012; Bimber et al., 2012), but research on digital technologies’ implication for organizing, or the ability to help reach collective action goals is nascent in the information and organizational fields. Topics that have been addressed include: digital action repertoires of social movement organizations (Selander & Jarvenpaa, 2016), cyberactivism (Benjamin, Chen & Zimbra, 2014; Yetgin, Young & Miranda, 2012), systems standardization as collective action (Markus, Steinfield, Wigand & Minton, 2006), collective efforts to complete tasks in a dispersed work context (Subramaniam, Nandhakumar & Baptista, 2013), collective action and knowledge contribution in voluntary, computer-mediated settings (Wasko, Faraj & Teigland, 2004), and ICT tool use in social movements (Young, 2017).

Important research opportunities yet to be explored include using collective action and social movements lenses to consider organization more broadly, including large-group collaboration phenomena such as collaborative innovation networks or crowd funding. This research stream has the potential to contribute to IS and reference discipline theories as well as develop practical insights for organizations, practitioners, activists, and policy makers.

Scope and Focus of the Special Issue

The purpose of this special issue is to develop understanding around the roles of digital technologies in collective action and movement phenomena and to contribute theoretical insights related to collective actions in the digital age. We encourage submissions that explore the roles of digital technology in collective action generally as well as those focused social movement phenomena. In keeping with the aims and scope of /Information & Organization/, we are particularly interested in papers that examine in depth the social and material interplay of information technologies and organizational and organizing phenomena.

Possible topics include, but are not limited to the following:
* Online resource mobilization and digital opportunity structures for
collective action
* Social and material implications of digital activism
* Fake news movements, propaganda diffusion and organizing responses
* Corporate strategy / involvement in social movements to shape public
* Botivists (web bot programmed for activism), online petitions, and
other tools for digital protest and engagement
* Digital marketing of social agendas
* Empowerment / marginalization campaigns enacted in online digital
* Social media capabilities and facilitation of echo chambers
* Media capabilities for voice-giving and perspective-shaping
* Financing of social agendas through crowd funding or bitcoin exchanges
* Crowd funding, bitcoin exchange or similar phenomena examined as
social movements or collective actions
* Privacy and ethical issues in researching online collective action
* Methodological challenges in researching collective action and new
digital technologies

Special issue timeframe

Submission Deadline: November 1, 2017

First round decisions: March 1, 2018
Revisions due:            July 1, 2018
Second round review: October 1, 2018
Final papers due:        December 1, 2018
Publication:                Issue 1, 2019 (available online approximately 1/1/2019)


Benjamin, Victor, Hsinchun Chen, and David Zimbra. “Bridging the virtual and real: the relationship between web content, linkage, and geographical proximity of social movements.” /Journal of the Association for Information Science and Technology/ 65.11 (2014): 2210-2222.

Bennett, W. Lance, and Alexandra Segerberg. “The logic of connective action: Digital media and the personalization of contentious politics.” /Information, Communication & Society/ 15.5 (2012): 739-768.

Bimber, Bruce, Andrew Flanagin, and Cynthia Stohl. Collective action in organizations: Interaction and engagement in an era of technological change. Cambridge University Press, 2012.

Markus, M. Lynne, Charles W. Steinfield, and Rolf T. Wigand. “Standards, Collective Action and IS Development-Vertical Information Systems Standards in the US Home Mortgage Industry.” /MIS Quarterly/ 30 (2006): 439-465.

Selander, Lisen, and Sirkka L. Jarvenpaa. “Digital Action Repertoires and Transforming a Social Movement Organization.” /MIS Quarterly/ 40.2 (2016): 331-352.

Subramaniam, Niran, Joe Nandhakumar, and John Baptista. “Exploring social network interactions in enterprise systems: the role of virtual co‐presence.” /Info Systems J./ 23.6 (2013): 475-499.

Wasko, Molly McLure, Samer Faraj, and Robin Teigland. “Collective action and knowledge contribution in electronic networks of practice.” /Journal of the Association for Information Systems/ 5.11 (2004): 2.

Winter, Susan, et al. “Beyond the organizational ‘container’: Conceptualizing 21st century sociotechnical work.” /Information and Organization/ 24.4 (2014): 250-269.

Yetgin, Emre, Amber G. Young, and Shaila M. Miranda. “Cultural production of protest frames and tactics: Cybermediaries and the SOPA movement.” /International Conference on Information Systems /(2012).

Young, Amber G. “Using ICT for social good: Cultural identity restoration through emancipatory pedagogy.” /Info Systems J./ 2017.